Ubersteiger Blog – FC St. Pauli

“The Fanzine of FC St.Pauli – established since 1993”

The Ubersteiger blog (Google Chrome translates this to “exaggerated”??) is a fan-run blog for FC St. Pauli, a 2nd division German club from Hamburg which is strongly associated with leftist politics, and they make social responsibility and tolerance part of their club mission. Because of this, St. Pauli has a large fan base around the globe, including me, once I learned about the club from reading Galeano’s book Soccer in Sun and Shadow. So, despite St. Pauli being in Bundesliga 2, there is still plenty of demand for St. Pauli based blogs, and this blog is not the only one out there.

The authors are simply hardcore fans of St. Pauli and are identified by their first names. “Frodo” has made most of the posts in the last few months. The blog posts are written in German, which I do not know. However, I visited the blog on Google Chrome so it auto-translated the posts, semi-accurately I hope. They also upload their podcast, called the “Millernton Podcast” (Millerntor is the name of St. Pauli’s stadium). The podcast is in German, but I do not have access to technology that will translate German speech to English so unfortunately, I cannot write about the podcast. Some of the posts are purely summaries and analyses of matches, but a significant number of posts are political in nature and sometimes have nothing to do with the club itself.

This is how their game analyses are structured: They put the final score, the goalscorers, and the attendance at the game including how many away fans for a home game, or how many St. Pauli fans for an away game. It appears to me that whoever is writing the match report has physically attended the game. In most posts, they talk about any drama that happens before the game, e.g. when they played KSV Holstein Kiel there was some talk about Holstein’s banners being stolen and the police got involved. So the posts aren’t completely about the soccer; the authors of the posts are trying to recreate what it is actually like to attend each game, to be in the trenches. As we discussed in class, because some club soccer teams have such large international fan bases, the vast majority of fans will not physically attend the game, so this is a way to bring that experience to the St. Pauli fans around the globe.

One issue that appears to get on the authors’ nerves is the commercialization of soccer. Within a match analysis, in a paragraph devoted to discussing the frustrating defensive tactics of the opposing team, the author says, “Even before we continue to discuss whether the creeping disintegration of 50 + 1 or the increasing commercialization of football makes us broken…” In another post too, they comment on how the Sky TV network contributes to “making football broken”. I find it interesting how a club like St. Pauli, with all that they stand for, must grapple with their growing/large popularity while being very anti-corporatism in soccer.

Their recent political posts have had to do with a variety of things, like Frankfurt’s club president’s statement against the right-wing nationalist German group AfD, a Nazi outburst and subsequent mishandling of club penalties between Energie Cottbus and Babelsberg, unconstitutional house searches, and local elections. The most recent post is intriguing to me, especially the part about Babelsberg. I followed the links they posted in order to understand the story. http://blog.uebersteiger.de/2018/02/06/peter-fischer-sky-und-babelsberg-03/. There was an interesting line in this post that translated to “let’s prove that football and politics belong together” which I think very well demonstrates the ideology of this blog and St. Pauli as a whole. Like I described before, politics is central to the club identity. These fans believe that soccer can be a platform for societal change and political protest, and it reflects in what they choose to write about on their St. Pauli blog.

Another post that I really liked was Frodo’s detailed account of his weekend in London: http://blog.uebersteiger.de/2017/10/30/west-ham-millwall-twickenham-ein-wochenende-in-london/. In his trip, the author saw two English soccer games and the NFL game played in London between the Rams and Cardinals. I am truly surprised that the NFL has a large enough reach that Germans would travel to London to see a game. The author commented on the extreme commercialism of the NFL and simply said something along the lines of “All this, of course, is in complete contradiction to my view of football, especially in Europe, specifically in Germany, especially in view of ‘my’ FC St.Pauli,” but he was still wholeheartedly invested in the NFL game and in fact it was the main reason he ventured to London.

All in all, the content feels a little bit disorganized, but offers a good taste of how politics and soccer mix in the world of FC St. Pauli.